Djokovic eases into Queens Club semi-finals

Jo Caldwell
June 25, 2018

Serbia's Novak Djokovic showed more signs of returning to a championship level, brushing aside fifth-ranked Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Queen's Club Championships, a Wimbledon tune-up event.

Djokovic is only the 10th man in the professional era to reach 800 match wins, and while Jimmy Connors' 1,256 - not to mention Roger Federer's still-growing 1,156 - is still a long way off, those who were beginning to write off the former world No. 1 and dominant force might need a rethink.

If Djokovic wins the semi-final and goes onto take the Queen's title for the first time, he will pass Stefan Edberg into ninth place on the all-time wins list.

Chardy said after beating Tiafoe: "I'm playing my best tennis of my career so far".

In what has been a hard season following injury, Djokovic is bidding for his first title this week and has looked closer to his best than at many times in the past year.

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Meanwhile, top seed Cilic fought past the big serving Sam Querrey to win 7-6 (3), 6-2, booking a tantalising semi-final with the talented Nick Kyrgios.

Djokovic saved the first but Cilic quickly earned a second with the shot of the match, a dipping forehand passing shot up the line, and Djokovic then wilted with a tame backhand into the net.

Asked how long he can play for, Djokovic grinned, saying: "Who said 40?"

The second set was a procession as Djokovic overwhelmed Mannarino from the baseline with a series of searing winners.

But after dropping a tight opening set, Kvitova turned on the style to record a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory in just over two hours.

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The 12-time Grand Slam champion's last final - and title - also came on a British grass court, when he defeated Gael Monfils in Eastbourne last July.

"I'm just self-critical, I guess, at times", Djokovic said. "You know, even though I'm really happy I'm in the finals, I just want to keep building this momentum".

An embarrassing French Open quarter-final defeat against Italian journeyman Marco Cecchinato extended his wretched run in 2018.

"Last year I had a match point and couldn't convert it, this year it was Novak". Cilic produced the knockout blow in the final set with a brilliant victor on the run to break in the eighth game, earning a thumbs up from Djokovic that effectively signalled his surrender.

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